Background Image Caption: Project MISS students spends the summer working on calculus.

Pledge to Local Schools

Improving Area Students' Math Performance

Cal State Fullerton is one of the top CSU campuses in terms of entering freshmen's proficiency in math. One reason may be the programs that mathematics professor David Pagni has created for area schools and students.

Pagni originated an intensive, four-week skills-building course to encourage young women to pursue math and science careers. Each summer, about two dozen high school girls who are succeeding in all course work except math come to campus in early July. They study six hours a day, Monday through Friday. Besides improving their algebra skills, they learn about college life and explore careers.

The program, called Project MISS (for Mathematics Intensive Summer Session), began in 1990. Ninety-eight percent of participants have completed high school and entered college, and 20 percent major in science, engineering or mathematics. One third of alumnae enter Cal State Fullerton.

In a seven-year program funded by a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation, Pagni supervised the training of more than 1,800 Santa Ana educators in a new way to teach elementary school mathematics. In 2002, Pagni earned a similar-sized grant to enhance teacher training and help students excel in learning mathematics.

Pagni was honored in 2005 with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring—one of 10 faculty members from across the nation to receive the award.

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